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Poems by Dave Stevens

Marvin Gaye Dug Prostitutes


Marvin Gaye dug prostitutes / he said.
I know / I said.
Sigmund Freud dug coke / he said.
I know / I said.
Lennon got high and Cobain and Coltrane…
well, Cobain and Coltrane were on heroin / he said.

Don’t you think I don’t know / I said.
Well / he said.
What do you think / he said.

I think / I said / you got to shut
your goddamn mouth.
Genius is far stronger
than human laws
will ever realise.

He became angry.
Have you no morals / he said.
Have you no mercy / I said.
We looked into each other like two spirits
in a fandango.
It was so intense that time stopped ticking.

Eventually he said /
if you have no morals
then neither do I,
and he reached over
and kissed my woman
full on the lips.
Now that’s some cheek.

I guess the same
can be said about mercy / I said,
before cocking my gun
and shooting him

No-one can say he didn’t
have it coming,
you just don’t do
those kinds of things.

And it’s strange how
some afternoons can be so much more
interesting than others
even when you never planned it
that way.
This, I guess,
was just one of them.



Waiting at the carousel.
Faith in the human spirit
but still a bit
that someone might have
rifled through
your travel bag and
stolen your shoes.
Collect bag.
No visible signs of entry,
believe in people again.
Find the taxi you ordered.
Wait for others in silence.

The taxi driver is on
his own schedule,
not yours.
Grit your teeth
and tell him / no, it’s fine Signor.
What an inconsiderate bastard
he is.
What inconsiderate bastards
they all are.
You’re late
but no amount
of apology
is ever going to restore time.
If this is the route
of service
we’re all for it / you think.

Cars backed up.
Sun is hot.
You want to kill something
or someone.
There seems to be a severe
lack of order
in a day so seemingly
well planned.
Do your business.
Talk shit,
oh hell, everyone wants
to talk shit.
You can’t get away from it.
Shit, shit, shit.
It’s not important /
you want to scream,
but nobody listens
or maybe it’s just
that nobody hears.
Taxi waits outside.
It’s time to rush home.
Rush home.

What a day.
You just make the flight,
people are staring at you
for being late,
inconsiderate bastards,
all the overhead compartments are full,
so you sit cramped
with your hand luggage
under your feet.
You get home just in time
to make
the peak hour traffic
To add –
O.R Tambo airport is a mess,
you have to pay
a third world salary cheque
for parking
and there’s an accident
at the Edenvale off ramp
involving a truck of live chickens.

It’s dark
when you pull
into the driveway.

And the best part is
you get to do it all again
And that’s how it will be
until the day
you die
if you’re not careful.


The Killers

We killed by the river.
We killed for pleasure.
We killed the weak and the clumsy.
We killed the archaic and the
We killed the goldfish.
We killed the sun, the moon, and
the stars.
We killed the returning birds
and we killed the ones that stayed behind.
We killed the locusts
that ate the corn
and we killed the corn
the locusts didn’t eat.
We killed presidents.
Ah yes, we didn’t care
for politics and power.
We killed citizens even.
We spared no-one.
We moved like blur diagrams
in-between the buses
at peak hour traffic
and we killed the mood.
We were invincible,
we were ruthless
and bloody.
We killed cows
and businessmen.
We killed everything.
We killed because
petty vendetta’s are more important
than sustaining a human cycle.
We killed because
power and greed
are more readily funded
and work is easy to find.
We killed because
people don’t like each other
and murder
has become
a popular currency.

We killed like there was
no tomorrow.
We killed the priests
that tried to get
in our way.
We killed the scum.
We killed and killed and killed.
It was a job,
to kill was our sleep.
We loved to kill.
We killed the seas
and all that was living in the seas –
pacific, atlantic, indian,
sharks, turtles and fishermen.
We killed the land.
Nothing was too great
or too small.
We killed bugs and ants
and anemones.
We knew no mercy.
Everyday there was a new target,
some just never rest.
We killed nursery rhymes
and fairy tales.
We killed fact and
we killed fiction.
We killed your brothers.
We killed your sisters.
We killed our brothers and sisters too.
We were vitriolic
and we were nasty.
We killed laughter.
We killed praise.
We killed peacocks,
monuments, statues, trains,
we killed whatever we
could lay our hands on,
nothing was too sacred or to
when we had killed
we turned on each other,
and then there was
no more.



When people lose perspective
they’ve lost a great battle.

When they can’t see the havoc
and chaos
a bullet can cause
their humanity
takes a turn for the worse.

When their compassion
is withered
on the bough
and their words
are as harsh
as famine,
it’s then they must worry.

When all they want to do
is fuck and fight
then that’s what they’ll get.

When people want to damage
and break one another
for no other apparent reason
then just
to be nasty and spiteful
they will battle themselves forever.

Don’t expect compensation
for that kind of presence
for it deserves none.

When people chase power
for themselves
it will consume them
until there is no room left
for anything else.

When they can look someone
in the eye
and lie to them outright
without remorse or conscience
they are doomed
to always be in doubt
with everyone
even their loved ones.

When people screw one another
over it’s then
they have no clue
of consequence,
and without consequence
we might as well
fuck like dogs.


Sometimes Resolute And Ambitious

Ten million volts of
you will find in the streets
these days,
everyone trying to get by,
selling themselves
or selling others,
or just being annoying,
washing windscreens
or collecting rubbish
or forcing others to feel
a mass sorry
out across the cities.
It’s enough to drive
a man to drink,
and it has,
and more will follow,
and some won’t last.
will find
other places to
lay low.
The horse race tab
and the night jails
are full of them,
they are in
office blocks
and neon bars,
and some
never leave,
with themselves
or the shitty hands
they’ve been dealt,
angry at their own
lack of self restraint,
practicing violence
but never winning,
sometimes resolute and ambitious
with spurts of energy
and promise
but mostly
lazy and apathetic.
The streets are full
of this kind.

And maybe it’s because
this poor world,
with some dignity
and humanity
and a lot less aggression,
still has so much to learn.